Needs assessment is identified in our text as to uncover, more precisely than performance analysis does, what the performance problem is, who it affects, how it affects them, and what results are to be achieved by training, (Rothwell, 2002). A needs assessment “identifies gaps in results, places them in order of priority, and selects the most important for closure or reduction”, (Watkins & Kaufman, 1996, p.13).
An instructional plan should address all the needs necessary for strategic intervention strategies, focusing specifically on the identified problems as they exist with the target population and environment. The plan should mark and impact any gaps in desired performance, and create a more understandable methodology for the population’s curricular dissemination.
Finally the goal of the intervention strategy is to close the measurable gap existing in the environment in such a fashion as to create greater understanding by the target population, of the subject in question.
The problem, as indicated for this study, is only 38.5% of beginning karate students, advanced to yellow belt in PE 110X Kenpo Karate as indicated by final grade postings. During the spring 2006 semester at North Idaho College (NIC), traditional teaching methodology, based on past instructor experience, produced an inadequate promotion rate with the student population. Traditionally rote motion exercise, social interaction, and demonstration, is used to impart martial arts materials. Research has shown that rote activity has little long-term influence on curricular retention and minimizes the possibility of processing for meaning, (Noice, 1993). The only strategy which seems to be a plus in this historical approach is social interaction as social behavior typically has a positive effect on school and work performance, (Utay & Utay 2005). Instructor expectation was set at 70% promotion rate as acceptable for these classes, and design measures were researched for possible intervention.
The student population for this study consisted of first and second year junior college students with a median age of 19 years. There were equal gender representation identified with eight men and eight women respectively. There were, no indication of previous exposure to this type of class noted. Physical attributes were identified and all students possessed the necessary physical and ambulatory skills necessary for curricular dissemination and participation. The students indicated several reasons for taking the class which included, needing the physical education credits, always wanting to take martial arts, and scheduling ease for their semester requirements. There were no special needs students identified in this semester.
The environment of this project takes place in the college aerobics room. The college aerobics room is 20 feet wide, by 50 feet long and has eight foot mirrors on one long wall and one short wall, which cover each wall’s length. This environment is conducive to immediate visual feedback as students see their postures and movements in their reflections. The floor surface is of a rubber composite similar to elastic concrete. Audio equipment is present, affording musical and prerecorded additions to the class atmosphere. The room is well lit and has a view out three, three feet by six foot windows. There is no noticeable extraneous noise inhibiting lesson impartation and the room is kept clean and at a comfortable temperature. This environment presents no hindrance to successful student/teacher dynamics in this author’s opinion.
Based on the identified population’s successful promotion rate, and the instructor’s desired promotion rate, there was a 31.5% promotional rate gap identified for a possible intervention strategy.I
Instructional Plan Description
The subject of student failure is an interesting dynamic as there appear to be many reasons for student lack of curricular retention. In their article, Address the Whole Person Ensuring Student Success, James and Cruz, (2005), forwarded the following summation and it identifies teacher/student dynamics profoundly:
Most physical educators became teachers because they were skilled movers and enjoyed the content of physical education. Although the content is important, there are other things to consider when attempting to accomplishing goals to meet the needs of all students. Teachers need to consider the whole person (motor, cognitive, affective
domains) to ensure developmental appropriateness and consequently, student success. Instructional approaches provide one avenue to address all three domains when instructing students, (James & Cruz, 2005, p.21). This author chose a student learning style preference inventory as a precursor to class commencement to aid in catering to student’s strengths academically. Each new student is given the Memletic’s Learning Styles Inventory (Advanology.com, 2006), to ascertain individual learning style preferences. Group mean propensity for learning style preferences will be charted and the top three categories in mean learning style strengths will be addressed through the alignment of future curricular presentation. Research suggests that students' and instructors' educational preferences vary in different educational domains, including curriculum, assessment, the learning process, pedagogy, and physical classroom dynamics, (Holcomb, 2005). There is, therefore, inference supporting a need for the melding of teacher style and presentation with student perception and assimilation abilities to aid in a successful outcome for both. Research also describes student self-efficacy as a major instructional goal and literature confirms the relationship between self-efficacy to exercise and teaching methods, (Sabourin, 2002). There is also postulation addressing student learning styles as an enhancer for curricular retention. Although several moderating variables influence outcome, results overwhelmingly support the position that matching students’ learning style preferences with complementary instruction improves academic achievement and student attitudes toward learning, (Lovelace, 2005). Research has shown the uniqueness of different teaching and learning styles and identified the characteristics associated with each style, (Brown, 2003). If, therefore, learning/teaching styles are out of sync, a hindrance can be expected in the dissemination of critical information pedagogically, retarding the growth potential of the students in question. There is hope that this theoretical approach to curricular design will promote the desired outcomes for student curricular retention, and instructor expectation.
There is supposition that when curriculum is aligned to address student’s strengths in learning, positive impact can be achieved. There is also inference that this intervention strategy will produce the desired 70% promotional rate with the student population’s regard. This approach to student-based differentiated education seems to have merit when viewed from the standpoint of a strategy to help students learn. Good educators now understand that the learning process must be individualized to meet the learning styles of their students, (Swanson, 2005). This author’s belief is that when student learning styles are identified and curricular presentation is modified to address theses styles, student success in class, will be increased to the desired instructional outcome of at lease 70% promotion to the next level of study.
Brown, B. (2003). Teaching Style vs. Learning Style Myths and Realities 26.Ohio State University, Center on Education and Training for Employment, Ohio State University.
Holcomb, R. 2005. Competing paradigms: Exploring the traditional or progressive educational preferences of California community college students and instructors. Clairmont Graduate University, 124 pp.
James, A.R.& Cruz, L.M. 2005. Addressing the “Whole Person”: Ensuring Student Success (ISSN-1045-4853). Teaching Elementary Physical Education,16(6), p.20-22. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ734023).
Lovelace, M. 2005. Meta-Analysis of Experimental Research Based on the Dunn and Dunn Model. Journal of Educational Research, 98 (3), p176-183, 8p, 4 charts.
Memletics Learning Styles Inventory, Advanology.com, 2004. Retrieved from www.learning-styles.
Noice, H., 1993. Effects of Rote Versus Gist Strategy on the Verbatim Retention of Theatrical Scripts. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 7 (1) p75-84, 10p.
Rothwell, W., 2002. Instructional Design. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Retrieved from, https://ecampus.phoenix.edu/content/eBookLibrary/content/eReader.h
Sabourin, T. 2002. Evaluation of a community college fitness course on self-efficacy to exercise. University of Central Florida. 124pp.
Swanson C., 2005. Learning Styles and the Voice Student. Journal of Singing 62 (2), p. 203-208.
Utay, J., & Utay, C., 2005. IMPROVING SOCIAL SKILLS: A TRAINING PRESENTATION TO PARENTS. Education. 126 (2) p.251-
258, 8p Abstract.
Watkins, R. and Kaufman, R. 1996. An update on relating need assessment and needs analysis. Performance improvement. 35 (10) p. 10-13.